Rise & Shine! #1

This post started its life on May 2, 2016 as a Monday morning email to the Tailored Output community.

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Good Monday morning, friends!

This is my first weekly email and I couldn’t be more excited. I realized that while I love my blog, I have been craving a way to share more about my personal experience. To connect with you as we work to achieve our goals, together. I hope you’ll find this email a welcome addition to your week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Empowerment.

Recently the women bloggers I respect have been on a rant about the word. I think it started with a naked selfie of Kim Kardashian (I’ll spare you the link) and spiraled on from there. They make the (valid!) point that if someone needs empowerment, it means their power resides with someone else. And they take issue, saying that we all have our power within us, and must tap into it for ourselves.

Then Sunday a good friend brought up the same point. Saying that he doesn’t need permission from anyone to achieve his dreams. Epic. And absolutely true.

So what, then, do I do with this word? Empowerment is a value at Tailored Output!

Wikipedia defines Empowerment this way:

Empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. Empowerment refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognise [sic] and eventually to use their resources and chances.

I am all about that! We should all be all about that! So what’s up with the backlash?

Maybe the word is too narrowly defined in our culture to mean “given power.” Maybe we’re sick of the mis-use of the term to describe images we believe are harmful to women and girls. Or maybe it’s a signal that those who object have realized their own power.

I like that last one the best.

We seek empowerment most when we feel powerless. When we feel trapped, and micro-managed, and left-out. It’s a success story when we no longer feel a need for empowerment. It means that we’re free and capable and included and strong. It means that we understand our worth. And we’ve given ourselves permission to live the life of our dreams. That’s power.

And as much as I love my good friend and respect the bloggers. As proud as I am that they’ve overcome that hurdle in their lives. I’m not ready to abandon the word. Too many of us haven’t yet joined their ranks. We still struggle sometimes to realize our worth. We feel penned-in by our boss or situation or obligations. We still are searching for the power within ourselves.

If that describes you this week. Don’t fear!

We can only accomplish the things we believe are possible. That’s a fact. Our brains are too powerful to let us do anything we don’t believe we can.

So good news! It’s possible.

Self-empowerment is real. Let my friend and the bloggers be your inspiration. You, too, can find within yourself all that you need: To feel free. To be strong. To own your power. It will take work. It might take time. AND you have everything you need within you.

Believe it!

Have a beautiful week,

Julie

Special Note: I have since given up the word Empowerment but NOT the concept of uncovering and owning your OWN power. I read an article that asked if you have ever seen someone with Power do something our culture considers Empower-ing? No, right? This word that I value. That I believe means something important about how our organizations should treat their people, has been co-opted beyond recognition. And I have come to terms with that.

If you’d like to join in the conversation, please do! You can find me on social media (@tailoredoutput everywhere) and you can receive weekly Rise & Shine! emails from me about what’s going on at Tailored Output — in my life, in my research, and in my head. These emails are designed to motivate and inspire, as we all grow together.